In an effort to stimulate domestic tourism and address the decline in international bookings to the region, the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities launched the "Jordan is More Beautiful 2" campaign earlier this month.
Jordanian Minister of Tourism Haifa Abu Ghazaleh announced at a news conference on April 17th that the campaign will continue year-round and will not be limited to a certain season of the year, as was the case in previous campaigns.
She added that the campaign will include a reduction in prices, commensurate with citizens' ability to pay.
The campaign also coincides with a recent decision by the Jordanian cabinet to encourage Arabs from the region to visit local tourist sites and monuments by charging them the same entry fees that Jordanians now pay.
It includes 24 tourist programmes covering all tourist attractions and archaeological sites in the kingdom. The Tourist Transportation Association has pledged to provide tourist buses as appropriate.
The tours include Tabqat Fahl and Umm Qais, in addition to Ajloun and Mar Elias, Jerash and Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba, and other archaeological and tourist sites in the kingdom.
Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Issa Gammoh told Al-Shorfa that, "The ministry, in co-operation with all the relevant tourism facilities, will develop tourism programmes aimed at targeting domestic tourists by charging prices within the citizens’ reach, and provide the same level of services as those made available to foreign tourists."
Gammoh said domestic tourism in Jordan makes up between 7% and 9% of total tourism activity, adding that tourism in 2010 contributed about 13% of GDP and provided 42,000 jobs to Jordanians.
Hotels, travel agents, transportation companies, restaurants and the Tourism Promotion Authority are co-operating to create an integrated programme designed to encourage Jordanian tourists to engage in domestic tourism rather than travel abroad.
There are two options for domestic tours: the first includes a one-day visit to tourist and archaeological sites near the capital, while the second includes accommodations for one or two continuous days in areas farther from Amman.
Trip prices start from 14 dinars (or $20) per person per day, and include transportation, entrance fees and snack food, as well as preferential rates for children aged 2 to 11 years.
The cost of a trip for two days and one night to Aqaba, for example, is 31 dinars (or $44) per person.
The head of the Jordan Hotels Association Abdel Hakim al-Hindi said, "It has been agreed with the hotel establishments the need to ensure the success of the campaign by offering prices discounted by 50 per cent."
"The hotels that will benefit the most will be three and four-star hotels, which are accessible to Jordanian and Arab citizens and do not charge high prices," he told Al-Shorfa.
Jordanian citizen Shadi al-Majali welcomed the length of this year's campaign, which extends for eight months until the end of the year. "This way, Jordanian families can choose the time that is convenient to them for tourism."
"The campaign this year is distinctive and provides highly discounted prices, which will encourage citizens to visit tourist sites they did not know before," he said.
Moaz Anasuh, also from Jordan, said the campaign is distinguished by its focus on lowering prices and making tourist attractions affordable to everyone.
"It is possible to select more than one site to visit this year, instead of travelling abroad, because Jordan is stable in addition to having several wonderful resort areas that will suit this year's summer season," he said.